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Russ Pankonin | Johnson Publications
Extension Educator Strahinja Stepanovic looks at a sample on his spring wheat plot the Stumpf wheat center east of Grant. June 15 marked his last day with Extension since his work visa has expired.

Future for Stepanovic uncertain

    Extension Educator Strahinja Stepanovic, a native of Serbia, gazed across a test plot of spring wheat at the Henry J. Stumpf International Wheat Center east of Grant.
    He was hoping he could see it all the way through. But that’s not going to happen.
    Colleagues will take over the research for Stepanovic, whose six-year work visa ended June 15. As a result, so did his work with the center and Nebraska Extension.
    Stepanovic and his wife Ana initially came to the U.S. on student visas to study at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
    Both received ag-related degrees and moved to Grant six years ago when he began his work with Extension.
    During his time there, Stepanovic conducted extensive studies on pulse crops such as field peas and chickpeas and how they could fit into crop rotations.
    That was all part of his focus centered on water conservation and management in dryland and irrigated cropping systems, agronomic evaluation of farming practices and weed, insect and disease resistance management.
    As an immigrant to the U.S., his future is uncertain since his H1B work visa expired.
    An H1B visa allows a foreign national to work in the U.S. in a specialty occupation for a maximum of six years.  
    His wife has obtained her H1B work visa and now  works as an extension economist with the Kansas Farm Management Agency in Colby, Kansas.
    The family, which now includes three daughters, ages 7, 5 and 3, has already relocated to Colby.
    Stepanovic’s plans were to  leave the country and come back in under a student visa so he can complete his research here, along with his studies toward a PhD degree.

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